3 South and Banana – EP Review

Just when you were thinking artists’ names were getting a little too vanilla around here on indieBerlin, up steps a new act with a fresh hit of flavour.

3 South and Banana is the new solo moniker of French songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aurélien Bernard, formerly of Vadoinmessico. While it may be the creative naming of this new Berlin-based project that initially grabs the attention, the sound, and indeed the vision that follows is equally entrancing.

The sound, and indeed the vision that follows is equally entrancing.

Launched in summer 2018, 3 South & Banana draws on Bernard’s former experience playing in bands, with some of his more stand-out stories creeping into the eponymous EP’s lyrical content. Recently released lead single ‘Fake Jungle’ is a reference to the artificial greenery of The Mirage hotel in Vegas, where the artist had the surreal experience of playing the drums to an audience that included James Brown.

‘This is where I learned everything I know / This is when I lost everything I learned’, sings Bernard, as the sugary synth and rolling bassline behind him conjure up images of a city of vice, wealth, and casual debauchery. There is a tropical feel to the track, its hand-drum percussion and lyrical playfulness enhanced by the simple, raw production style.

The sugary synth and rolling bassline conjure up images of a city of vice, wealth, and casual debauchery.

The four-track EP leans on surrealism and psychedelia itself. There are strands akin to Kiwi rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra in the opening track ‘Magdalen Eye’, with a healthy dose of British indie influence also present. In its finer moments, the dreamy ‘Rooftop Trees’, a slower, more stripped down, but ultimately brilliantly constructed ballad, is even reminiscent of The Kinks. In a return to Bernard’s French-speaking roots, closing number ‘Soleil’ brings the proceedings to a fitting end.

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3 South & Banana played a set at Schokoladen in Berlin last month, accompanied by visual artist Tartaruga Feliz (for an idea of what the collaboration looked like, check out the artist’s Instagram page here). 3 South & Banana, while the EP is due to land in February 2019.

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